I often get asked if I could make a 'simple box arrangement' and my answer is always: No. As harsh as this may sound, I have reasons for not using floral foam in my day to day floristry and you may be surprised to find out why! If you have ever received or ordered a bunch of flowers from me you would know that they are not presented in the 'usual' way. I wrap recycled jars in recyclable brown paper (printed with a pretty pattern of course!) and tie them off with jute string or ribbon (again, recyclable!). I pin or tie your cards to the front - so there is no need for those plastic card-holding forks. The only time I use plastic is when I wrap flowers to sell out of Coffee Cog, where they are wrapped in an environmentally friendly water retaining gel, which unfortunately needs to be held in a plastic bag.
So my reason for not using foam - long story short - it's basically poisonous. Smithers-Oasis foam is made of non-biodegradable plastic containing ingredients such as formaldehyde, carbon black & barium sulphate - just to name a few. Formaldehyde is known as a carcinogen, a dangerous cancer-causing chemical. It carries health risks if the dust is inhaled, and the formaldehyde leaches into the water the foam soaks in and if kept in a hot environment can create a horrible off-gas.
Hmmm... Sounds awful doesn't it? Don't get me wrong - floral foam has its place and lends itself well to creating stunning designs and not using it does make some designs more difficult to execute - but overall, my health, my customers health and the wellbeing of the environment are my main concern. There are some instances (mainly for weddings) where, due to budget restrictions, floral foam must be used. I hope to one day be 100% foam-free, and banning it from my day-to-day work is just the first step. And anyway, flowers are much happier in plain old water!
I carry my concern for the environment through all aspects of the business - the cards I stock from The Thinktree are all printed on 100% post consumer recycled card, the candles from Newton & Ireland are made in recyclable glass mason jars & the gel used in the shop wraps is designed to be dug into your garden & breaking down over time while releasing water to the roots of your plants.
If you have any questions please feel free to ask! I'm happy to answer any concerns you may have. You can also find more info over at Floriography's page.